How to support the book community during the coronavirus crisis

Some suggestions on how readers, libraries, independent bookshops and authors can remain united during difficult and uncertain times.

Ryan MacEachern/Penguin

During these deeply challenging times, books can be a source of comfort and escape. Crucially, they are also a way for us to remain connected even while we're physically apart.  

But the book community, like all areas of society, is facing huge difficulties as it adapts to the consequences of the coronavirus crisis. Bookshops are being forced to close. Book fairs and other literary events have been cancelled. And author's public readings, tours and signings have been put on hold.

So what can we do to remain united? Sharing your reading recommendations online using #BooksConnectUs is a great start. But what else? From simply following your favourite author on social media to using your library without leaving the house, here are some suggestions.

Supporting your local library by borrowing

If you’re a member of your local library, you can do this for free. And it couldn't be simpler. Most libraries employ easy-to-use app services such as BorrowBox or Overdrive (visit your local library's website to find out which system they use). All you do is download the app onto your device, select your library service, activate your library membership and borrow to your heart's content. 

Leave an online review of a book you’ve read

Reading a book doesn't have to be a one-way street. When it comes to supporting the authors you love, your words can be as important to them as their words are to you. A review on a site like Amazon or Goodreads can be crucial to the success of a great book – now as much as ever.

Start a virtual book club

Just because we can't be together, doesn't mean we can't read together. So as more of us hunker down to a life of solitude, we need to find ways of being together, apart. So why not embrace this period of remote work, and livestream a bookclub through Zoom, Skype or Google Hangouts

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